Pairs Well With Delight
On his web site, winemaker David Phinney claims that The Prisoner was the result of luck. And that may be true, but oh, what a charmed roll of the dice it was when he tossed together a few different varietals to make this fabulous blend.
I heard about this mysterious wine a few months ago, when a girlfriend was giving me a detailed account of her date the previous night. It seemed that she had been wined and dined by a gentleman who bought "the last bottle of The Prisoner" at a certain posh restaurant. "It was the most amazing wine," she gushed. "And the most fabulous night!"
I didn't give it much thought; after all, I taste wines all the time as a part of my job, and most are frankly unremarkable. Even with its vaguely disturbing image by Goya on the label, how good could this red blend be?
But then, because the name is catchy, I decided to look for it the next time I was out wine shopping. And wouldn't you know it - I couldn't find it. Seems that the 2003 had been whisked away by rabid Californians. "Flew right off the shelf," one wine store purveyor told me. After that, I had to have some. That's right - I'm just your average American consumer - tell me that something is hard to get, and I simply MUST find a bottle.
Shortly thereafter, just by chance, I invited our neighbors over for a small dinner party (for which I made a version of Philippe Jeanty's famous Tomato Soup en croute). Now this neighbor just so happens to manage one of the largest wine stores in San Francisco. And he just so happened to walk in the front door with a bottle of The Prisoner in his hand.
The man deserved (and got) a hug! But still: I didn't honestly believe that this would be a super-special wine - I just wanted to be able to say that I had tasted it. Make that your average "entitled" American consumer. Sigh.
But this wine... oh, baby. The nose was full of dark chocolate and mint and black cherries. It was big and blowsy and voluptuous in the mouth, redolent of star anise, violets and blackberry jam, the liquid equivalent of rolling around naked on a mink blanket. Did I mention that I liked it? It was so yummy that I begged B to track some down for me. And he did - in New York of all places! - where they obviously don't know what they're missing.
And now I see that the 2004 has arrived, so I no longer have to hoard my stash. Hurray! Raise your glass!